10 Great Things About the 2012 Hornets
Watching your team struggle, in my case the Hornets, can be pretty painful. But you have to find a reason to live somewhere, so...
1.) Gustavo Ayon
Night in and night out, Gustavo is a joy to watch. He plays with such a high level of basketball intelligence that when he makes the inevitable dumb rookie mistakes, it doesn't feel quite as painful. It goes away once you see a nice pass or one of those smooth reverse layups. Plus the guy hasn't had a training camp, much practice, or calls English his first language. He came out of nowhere and could have been another lackluster international player a la David Andersen (aka giant Tom Green), but he seems to have a bright future with the team. Goose has easily become my favorite player to watch on the team right now.
2.) Jarrett Jack
He looks like a sad clown cat and I wouldn't have it any other way. Jack's not a player you like for his superstar skills. Instead, you like him for being him. He gives a little leadership to a young team and just seems like a friendly guy. Sometimes great players aren't likable, and sometimes okay players are. Jack falls into the latter. With Gordan injured, Jack has become sort of the face of franchise to an extent, and I actually get a little excited when he shots that little floater in the lane. If this team does eventually become a contender down the line, he'll become one of those guys that makes fans nostalgic about when the team was horrible, but in a nice way. "Aw man, I remember when we had Jarrett Jack. That guy was great. He kind of looked like Todd Bridges too." Who knows, maybe Jack could find a spot as a veteran on a Eric Gordan, Anthony Davis, (Insert Player) team competing in the West. A girl can dream, right?
3.) Anthony Davis
Every bad shot, dumb turnover, and fourth quarter collapse comes with a greater chance to land Anthony Davis, possibly a franchise changing player. The Cavs got a top pick for losing Lebron, so, how about it Mr. Stern?
4.) Watching Aminu
Let me explain. I know Aminu has not impressed very many people, and put into the context of being a lottery pick, he could be considered a big letdown. But I love when that lanky little guy comes through with a nice play. He has the potential, but there's the task of waiting for him to "get it" and I want to see it so bad. Rooting for the mellow, quiet guy can be really fun too. Who doesn't want the shy goofy kid to make the last shot in the movie? But, of course, we know mild mannered guys just can't be successful in the NBA. I mean look at Tim Duncan's career.
5.) CST Broadcast
When it works on my cable system, I love the CST broadcast. I love Bob Licht's perfect blend of homer enthusiasm and calling it as he sees it. I love Gil's cheesy puns and his kind, fatherly critisism of the team when they make a bad play. "Oh yeah see here, never a good idea to pass while your in the air...but good ball movement!" I love the commercials that try to sell me a 1997 Dell desktop with "no credit check!" There's also the Cee Lo 7-Up ad that I can hear in my head as I type this. Most of all, I love the sense of humor. So many of these hometown broadcast teams get a little too serious. They're all doom and gloom if the team wins or thinks they just 3-peated when they win a mid January game against the Suns when Nash isn't even playing. CST has fun, even when the team doesn't have a chance. I think it fits the fan base and the city.
6.) Not as Much Pressure to Win
When the Hornets had CP3, every loss was at least a little devastating. "God we are squandering our time with the best point guard in the league. Why?" Now I don't feel as bad. If I get a few good Gustavo moves, a Jack floater, an Aminu dunk, and some Jason Smith hustle, what more could I ask for? If we lose, we get more lottery balls. If we win, WE WON. Winning feels pretty good when you lose 75% of the time, even if it means less ping pong balls. It's like a win-win-lose situation. Or a win-lose-win? Whatever.
7.) The Team is Getting an Owner (Hopefully)
No more worrying that the team will be moved to San Jose ( New Orleans shouldn't have a team but the Bay Area should get another franchise. Really?) No more wondering if we aren't spending because we don't have an owner. No more getting referred to as the "League Owned" instead of "New Orleans" Hornets. Getting a chance to hear the entire arena screaming KOBE SUCKS again. No--well less-- fear of the inevitable conspiracy theories if the team somehow gets the #1 pick. No sadness that I won't get to wave a blow up Crystal bottle at Kevin Durant when he takes a free throw again. I could go on for days.
8.) They Never Give Up
If you're going to watch a team that loses, you at least want to watch a respectable one. The Hornets are just that. For what they lack in talent, they try to make up for in hustle. Compared to some young teams made of underachieving chuckers, I'd take that any time. They're like the team in an inspirational Disney teen sports movie. Except they lose in the end. But who doesn't root for that team? People without souls, that's who (also known as Lakers fans).
9.) CP3 is Not On the Team.
Let me clarify that I don't mean Chris Paul signing an extension and staying with the team long term. That would be awesome. I mean the awful experience of watching a Melo-drama-esque torture with CP3 still on the team clearly not wanting to be here and his play showing it. CP3 would have made it a lot more respectable, resulting in the Hornets winning just enough to not get a top 3 pick. Let's be glad it didn't happen like that. Now we get to watch a scrappy little team and have a some hope for the future. Thanks Dell.
10.) The Master Plan
With a little help from commissioner Stern, the Hornets get the top pick and choose Anthony Davis. Seeing that the franchise is clearly headed in the right direction, Eric Gordan quickly signs an extension. After an astounding rookie effort, Davis gets a unanimous Rookie of the Year award which catches the attention of a soon to be free agent CP3, who has been a little displeased with Donald Sterling claiming to be "offering a lot of money for a poor black kid" during contract negotiations. Feeling nostalgic about his time with the Hornets and his love for the city, Paul signs with the Hornets. The team, with it's "big 3" and Sixth Man of the Year Gustavo Ayon reach the Finals and sweep the Heat. Jambalaya and beads rain down on the arena, setting the scene for one of the most impressive dynasties in NBA history.
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